November 3, 2011
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Given one chance to break the curse which has held Angelique
in its grip for two hundred years, she is faced with a heart-rending
decision. Can she sacrifice Nick's happiness for her own freedom?
Included in A Naughty Little Christmas Boxed Set
This book was formerly sold under the same title, but with
a different cover under my name Opal Carew.
"Christmas Angel is an enchanting story that springs with incredible
emotions. Carew takes two likeable characters and weaves a delicious
tale with believability, tender love and affection that laces with
electric sparks. She pens a most remarkable read that will make
you cry, laugh and applaud with elation while making your heart
leap. I love every story that she fashions."
Linda L, The Romance Studio
Four Blue Ribbons!
"This book is full of emotions
it enthralled me with
the passion. All in all, CHRISTMAS ANGEL was a most wonderful story.
It makes you believe in miracles, laugh, cry and then shout for
joy. Since this is the first book I have read from Carew, I look
forward to reading more of her books."
Natasha Smith, Romance Junkies
interesting plot twist on a Christmas story
a powerful addition to the romance holiday genre and one sure to please the most avid of readers and romance enthusiasts."
Anita, Fallen Angel Reviews
"Carew's CHRISTMAS ANGEL is a sweet, yet
scorching story of the consequences of love."
Angelique. I want to help you.
The words startled Angelique.
She stared into the darkness, trying to breach the fog surrounding her memories. Her body felt cold and stiff. With alarm, she realized she couldnt move her arms or legs.
Green branches spread out below her. Panic welled up inside her as she began to remember things. Tremors started inside her.
She glanced at the large picture window, the blinds drawn wide, the lit tree reflected in the glass. There, on top, sat a blond glittering angel dressed in white. An angel who could neither move, nor smile. No one knew the pain that angel felt. The suffering shed endured over two centuries.
Tears prickled Angeliques eyes. Tears she could not shed. Because that angel was her.
Who are you? Angelique asked the voice.
A wispy, shapeless form floated toward her.
I am an angel.
Angel? The thought sent shudders through Angelique. It was one thing to know--by personal experience--that the supernatural existed. It was quite another to come face to face with it.
Do you remember Bertrand? a voice asked her.
Memories lurched through her mind like stones in a landslide, one over another, violent in their momentum.
Long ago, she had been in love with a man named Bertrand. She remembered the loving look in his eye and the gentle touch of his hand on hers when he had proposed to her. She had accepted joyously and melted into his arms.
When Bertrand had slipped the ring on Angeliques finger, panic had gripped her. A strong sense of foreboding filled her, and she felt cold, as if the life were being sucked out of her. Instinctively, shed known that it would steal her happiness and destroy her life. Before it reached her knuckle, she had jerked away, shaking her head.
I was with you then, the angel said. I warned you.
The wispy shape moved closer, then hovered in front of her.
You see, the Berringer men are cursed. An engagement ring carries the curse from generation to generation. Every time a Berringer male finds the woman he was meant to love and slips the ring on her finger, his love flickers out and dies. Like a candle snuffed out by the wind. I did not want that sad existence for you, Angelique. Unfortunately, I didnt know the horrible fate that would be thrust upon you when you refused the ring.
Angelique remembered all too clearly what happened after she rejected the ring. She had been slammed in the gut by a powerful force, crushing the air from her lungs. She had felt herself shrink. Her whole body had turned rigid until she could not move at all. She could not draw in a breath. Panic had overwhelmed her as shed tried to breath, knowing if she didnt she would suffocate.
But she didnt suffocate. Mercilessly, the despicable magic of the ring had stolen her life without letting her die. She had been transformed into a tree-top angel, cursed to sit atop a Christmas tree every Christmas season, with a lifeless body, but all the emotions and consciousness of a real person.
As soon as you became a tree-top angel, the ring erased you from Bertrands memory, thus protecting him from the rejection of love. You became a family heirloom, passed through the generations.
Angelique glanced around the masculine apartment laid out below her, filled with the sparkle of Christmas. The style was eclectic, accommodating contemporary pieces alongside antiques she recognized from generations of Berringer homes. Many she hadnt seen since the divorce of George Berringer and his wife, Elise. Theyd had two boys. Peter, a toddler at the time, had gone with his mother. So had Angelique.
After his mothers death two years ago, Peter had made plans to move to Australia. She recognized the grandfather clock in the corner and a few other items from Peters small country cottage. He must have passed her on to his brother in Canada.
Nick. That was the other boys name. Hed be a man now, but she remembered the wide-eyed, curious boy who used to read books by the fire and would laugh and play games with his younger brother, Peter. Hed had such patience with his younger sibling. His adoration for his brother had been very clear. Angelique had been saddened to see them parted.
Why are you helping me now? Angelique asked.
Because not the time is right, the angel answered vaguely.
Hope swelled in Angeliques heart.
Will you break this dreadful curse and turn me back to human form?
Its not quite that simple.
Angelique sighed. Of course not.
The curse cant simply be broken, but it can be shifted. I will return you to human form--temporarily--to accomplish this.
Elation glittered through her. The thought of being human once again pulsed through her! The angels words, however, troubled her.
Shifted? You mean, another person would take my place as an angel?
If the eldest Berringer male takes your place, the angel explained, the ring, and its magic, will go with him, never to harm another soul. There are only two Berringers left, but if the ring--and its curse--are gone, the family will heal and grow again. Isnt one mans fate worth the future of an entire family?
A queasy feeling stirred in her belly at the thought of condemning anyone to the fate shed suffered so long, but the angels logic was persuasive. For centuries, shed seen the pain in the eyes of the Berringer men and their wives. If she could stop that pain, she had to do it.
What must I do?
When you refused the ring two hundred years ago, the curse entrapped you. To reverse the curse now, you must accept the ring from Nicholas Berringer.
Why would Nicholas Berringer offer me the ring? He doesnt even know me.
You must make him fall in love with you. When he proposes and slips the ring on your finger, he will turn into a Christmas angel. You have until midnight on Christmas day.
Two days! How will I make him fall in love with me in only two days?
Silence hung between them like a thick layer of fog.
Remember, Angelique. If you fail, you will return to your current form and this generation of the Berringer family will be the last.
Angeliques brain seemed to flood with fog and the last words she heard the angel say were, Brace yourself. Itll take some time to adapt to being human again.
Extreme disorientation gripped her and her mind blanked.
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